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Oct, 2014

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  1. #1

    Default Joint tenants have split; advice needed, please.

    Hi, I'm new to the forum and fairly new to being a private landlord.

    We rented our property on a 12 month AST to an unmarried couple with a new baby. Four months into their joint tenancy, they are splitting up. She would like to remain in the house with their baby, but has told us that she has asked for rent support from the local council to enable her to meet the rent.

    What are the legal implications for us? Any advice on whether or not we should switch her to a single tenancy, re-secure the deposit and allow her to remain until the end of the 12 month let? I have trawled the net for answers but the situation seems to be rather more complicated than the standard answers suggest.

    As a landlord, would you do it...and if not, does the fact that the joint AST is no longer valid mean that we can legally end the tenancy? The guy has written to us to say he wishes to be removed from the tenancy with immediate effect. (He has paid the rent up till 31/12/12.)Any help very gratefully received. Cheers.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    1,245

    Default

    The joint AST is still valid. Ex partner cannot just remove himself from the tenancy. He can physically move out but his legal obligations to the tenancy remain.
    I'm a good tenant with great landlords
    I'm also a living, breathing, fully cooked female.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    5,407

    Default

    They are joint tenants on a 12 month fixed term so:
    1. They will remain jointly liable for rent, etc. until it is agreed otherwise by the 3 of you, or until they both move out (at the end of the fixed term, or afterwards after having given notice to quit)
    2. They are bound to the current tenancy for the whole term.
    3. The AST will remain joint even if the guy moves out, and even after the fixed term tenancy ends.

    Basically it all depends on what you decide.

    It seems that she might have problems paying the rent on her own, so I'd keep the tenancy a joint tenancy so that if she does pay you can go after him.
    Plus if the baby is his, as a good father he would want him to keep a roof above his head, wouldn't he?

  4. #4

    Default

    Thank you. I should add that she is happy for him to be removed from the tenancy, return the keys and leave. Do we have to redraft the AST or can we add a signed letter to it, stating that she is a single tenant? My main worry is that she may not be able to afford it. One more point....we are not planning on extending the tenancy to her beyond the 12 month fixed period, anyway, as we have other tenants lined up. If we could get out of this tenancy before the end of the fixed term, we would.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    help@tenancyservices.co.uk
    Posts
    15,862

    Default

    She may be happy, but is it in YOUR interests? I suspect not - why would you even contemplate granting a new tenancy to someone you intend to evict?

    I would be making noises to her that if she thinks she will have difficulty meeting the rent then you would be open to ending the tenancy early rather than have to go through the eviction process (you do realise she does not have to leave at the end of the 12 months?)

  6. #6

    Default

    Are you serious? If I have tenants on an AST lasting 12 months, am I not allowed to give them 2 months notice at the 10 month stage?

    Two more questions here.

    1. If we don't want to take her on as a single tenant on housing benefit, is there a way out?

    2. The original rent was quite a bit lower than the market rate for the property, as a favour to him if he would do any minor maintenance. If the contract is changed, am I allowed to raise the rent?

    Communications we've received today have shown that there is a high level of acrimony between the two of them and we are seriously worried about how this will affect our property.

    In the five months so far, the rent has been late twice, at one stage we waited until half way through the month before it was paid in full. I could really do with a get-out here, if there is one. Thanks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    help@tenancyservices.co.uk
    Posts
    15,862

    Default

    You can give notice, but you can't evict without a court order - there is no such thing as a 'notice to quit' on an assured tenancy.

    1) Evict using section 21 or section 8 - alternatively, leave the status quo with you still having 2 tenants to pursue for rent

    2) Minor maintainance remains the tenants responsibility, you have signed a 12 month contract for rent at £x, you have to stick with that unless the tenant voluntarily agrees to a different contract.

    Does the tenancy agreement state that you can use section 8 of the 1988 Housing Act (grounds 10 & 11) to evict?

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup Dragon View Post
    Thank you. I should add that she is happy for him to be removed from the tenancy, return the keys and leave. Do we have to redraft the AST or can we add a signed letter to it, stating that she is a single tenant? My main worry is that she may not be able to afford it. One more point....we are not planning on extending the tenancy to her beyond the 12 month fixed period, anyway, as we have other tenants lined up. If we could get out of this tenancy before the end of the fixed term, we would.
    Evening,

    As stated by Snorkerz - I wouldn't be looking to offer her a single tenancy as it's not in your interests and if you want rid of them as you have other tenants lined up then I would offer her the option of moving out at a date which suits you both before the 12 months ensuring they pay their rent up until that point.

  9. #9

    Default

    Thanks very much, all of you. Much appreciated. Our young lady has sent us a letter, stating that she is happy for us to terminate the tenancy and allow new tenants to take over, if we could just make sure she has a month's notice. Obviously, we'll give her more than that, but I think it may be the best solution.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    3,493

    Default

    Tech neither side can terminate T during fixed term, you have to agree mutual early surrender, pref signed as a Deed of Surrender.
    Both Ts should sign but I think a later from him saying he has moved out as of <date> and will accept any lawful early mutual surrender agreement signed by remaining T as if signed by both joint Ts. His reply should be dated before any signed Deed of Surrender and later stapled to it.
    Then you can SUGGEST to her that you would be willing to accept her offer of early surrender 1 month after the end of rent period in which it is made, provided no rent owing, deposit subject to move-out inspection on last day with Deed of Surrender signed on last day.
    ie similar terms to Ts SPT NTQ.
    Maybe more work for you on last day, but it gives her the requested month min yet keeps you in control over dates.
    A little unorthodox, and others may highlight pitfalls.
    In relationship breakdowns, there is usually no attempt from missing partner to exercise his lawful T rights, but these days who can say?
    Even if remaining T agrees to your suggestion there is little preventing her staying to/beyond end of fixed term & s*d all you can do about it.

    Although I do not impune your Ts, some Ts can engineer less aware LLs into unfair eviction scenario's so check wording with a solic specialising in LL&T law.

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